Not Naked but Very Afraid



This weekend a friend of mine and I decided to hike the Mt. Charleston summit located in Las Vegas. It is approximately a 4000 foot climb that summits at 11,900 feet. It is an awe inspiring, leg wrecking, oxygen free run/hike. This trek is as good and as brutal as it gets here in southern Nevada. During the initial eight miles you go through the majestic Bristlecone Pines, a cactus filled grass field, the devastation of a forest fire, pieces of a secret governmental aircraft crash, and finally the bald unvegetated summit. Upon reaching the top you are both inspired and completely out of gas. As my friend hit the summit he let an exasperated, “Oh, thank Christ”. Enough said.

This was my second trip to the summit of Charleston, the first was out of curiosity. This trip was for training. There is not one route that could better prepare me for my upcoming adventure, Leadville, CO. On June 16th, your not so bright blogger will be participating in the Leadville Heavy Half. It measures in at 15.5 miles with 3730 feet of elevation. Admittedly, these numbers alone don’t put a ton of fear in me. But one number does; 13,185. No, that’s not the number of participants or the number of beers I’ll try to drink after the race. That is the elevation of the turn around point. 13,185 feet in the air (what air there will be). Mt. Charleston peaked at 11,900 feet and that felt like someone was trying to snuff me out with a dirty bar rag. 13,185 feet is going to feel like I’m wearing a plastic bag and had the grocery clerk double bag me.

I did this training run to prepare myself for the grueling nature of this race, but all it did was remove my blissful ignorance. I like to go into events with a belief that I’m way more prepared than I ever am. I like to prepare for events with a bit of naivety, only to regret my decisions after the fact. I don’t want to have prior knowledge of the misery that lies in wait. I’d rather wrestle a crocodile blindfolded to not see the forthcoming removal of a body part. This training day took this away from me. We were both miserable during and after this climb. Our muscles ached, partly do to less than perfect water conservation, our lungs burned, and our heads pounded. The goal was becoming prepared, the result was becoming petrified. So, in a few short days I will be facing this obstacle known as Mosquito Pass with a little bit of confidence and a truck load of trepidation. But, I will face it, head on.

Many people’s biggest fear, as manifested in dreams, is showing up to a business meeting or social gathering naked. I couldn’t imagine the horror of standing naked in front of people you know and must see every day. I think our fear of nudity is the finality of it, no well-made jeans to hide our trouble spots. That’s what this training session did to me, it made me feel naked. I couldn’t hide my weaknesses, they were there for the world to see and enjoy. On June 16th in Leadville, CO I will be participating naked and afraid, but I’m pretty sure I’ll keep my clothes on.

Unrelated: Part 2
This last Thursday would have been my brother’s 48th birthday. I miss him more and more every day. I just wanted to share a quick story. Jay had a love of vodka and diet coke. Not unusual in and of itself, but he loved drinking it out of a Styrofoam cup. That’s odd. How he realized he had a love affair with Styrofoam, I will never know. About nine years ago, my wife, son, Jay and I went to Del Mar Race Track outside of San Diego to do some hardcore ($2 a race) betting. Around race eight we decided to call it a day, so we went all in. Tamara and I put about $7 on a guaranteed loser. Jay had around $40 left and looked for his perfect horse, and there it was. MAKE MINE VODKA. The freaking horses name was Make Mine Vodka. So with Styrofoam cup (yes he brought his own) in hand he made his way to the teller. Long story short, the race ended and for the rest of the night Jay was yelling Make Mine Vodka with the cash his dream horse won him. See you soon, brother!!!

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